My daughter came home from school a few weeks back talking about how a boy called her fat. He wanted to prove his strength to the class and claimed, “I’m so strong I can pick up this whole class…well, except for (G) because she’s fat.”
Naturally, it crushed her. She’s 9. 3rd grade. The wild wild west. I let her feel what she felt and then I had a strong woman to woman talk with my kind-hearted, always willing to help anyone out, goofy, badass daughter who happens to come from a long line of sturdy chicks.
“I understand that it hurt your feelings. Totally get that. That word is just an adjective. That’s it. Do you believe what he said to be true?”
“Neither do I. Why are you reacting as if you believe its true? It’s just a describing word. If he had come up to you and called you ‘blonde’, would that be true? or upsetting?”
“Of course not, Mom, *snort*.”
“Well, fat is just a word. Its a word that if you give power to the pain of it can hurt, but that pain is up to you.”
“Did you ever get called ‘fat’, Mom?”
“Uhh, only my entire life. And I know that it hurts your feelings. Especially when it’s used by someone who you thought was a friend. Someone who just invited you to a birthday party. But if you treat that word like any other describing word and take the sting out of it, maybe it wont be effective as something to hurt you.”
We discussed the kid’s name and thought of fun alternatives for the initials and we ended up laughing and being quite diabolical. Kids are mean and I explained that didnt make it acceptable or that it means it can be tolerated, but it’s the reality of (some) kids. I assured her, sadly, that if they didnt use ‘fat’ as the weaponized insult, it would just be something else.
Being a big strong loud girl is amazing. We stand out. We dont back down from the unique characteristics that make us different. We simply find others who help us feel appreciated for those qualities.
There will always be assholes in this world, the quicker you learn how to strip the power they feel they have over you, the better. My girl will accept who she is, love all of it, know her family loves her for it and we will not let the insecure, dull, carbon copies of the world dull our sparkle.
I am also teaching her not to be a victim. There is zero value in allowing yourself to cave to the hurt. Zero. Can you acknowledge the pain or the hurt? Absolutely! Does it define you and chisel out your self worth and place in this world? Hell to the no.
Here’s to the girls we are raising to be strong, kind, loyal and compassionate humans.
Here is a drawing I happened upon tonight my daughter did of the shithead that called her fat. I don’t know why this is on her mind again or what made her think of it, but I think she’s gonna be OK.